Request for Termination

 

Your Grace,

If Your Grace should receive this letter, please know that I have been trying to reach you for a little over a hundred years. If Your Grace has received my previous letters and they are still on your to-do list, I hope you will not think poorly of me for my impatience. But I beg Your Grace to please allow me to present my case for termination.

I am now coming to the end of my third century on Earth. While the first century was filled with real challenges, the last two centuries have fallen into a bit of a humdrum. I am most appreciative that the Pill serves all my nutritional needs so that I am safe from burns and cuts that come with cooking. I am unburdened by cleaning – my garden, my house or myself, for that matter. I cannot imagine how my gym-sculpted body would endure such hard labour. Yet sometimes in my dreams, where I lived in those dangerous and hard days of physical and mental labour, I felt so full of life. The truth is, since the Bots have become so efficient, all fun and no work have made me a dull person.

Your Grace has been around for some time too. I am sure you can identify with my difficulties to adapt to the increasingly structured life as one ages. Ever since our relationship with Bots surpassed human-to-human interaction, I have, like many of my generation, attended courses to assimilate to the robotic lifestyle. “How to think like a Family Bot”, “As efficient as a Worker Bot”, “How to be as rational as a bot”, and “A path to emotional stability – a bot’s approach”. I have dutifully attended the courses and have, in fact, done exceedingly well in the exams. Despite so, I live with shame, for I remain emotionally flawed. I am a burden and a danger to the society. Just saying that, Your Grace must have noticed, indicates how flawed I am, a creature still driven by feelings instead of solid reasoning.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I would have been more patient had my dearly beloved not enjoyed the good fortune to die in a bathroom accident. Incidentally, I am proud to inform Your Grace that he will likely be recorded in the history as the last person to die by such means.  Since the Pill was introduced to serve our nutritional needs, they have bred out the gastrointestinal tract and replaced it with a simpler system lacking excretory bits. In its absence, the younger generations no longer celebrate the little random acts of the gastrointestinal tract that connect us all. My textbook, ‘The Guide to Flatus – Fundamentals, Taxonomy and Techniques, a compilation of a lifetime’s work, now sits with the ancient texts. I have so many observations still to share about the music of flatus and reading in the toilet, but who would be interested to hear the ramblings of a structurally imperfect model? Who would understand that reading in the toilet has led to many creative moments, such as my textbook? But Your Grace, who has lived before and will live after me, would understand that, would you not?

 

Despite my robotic trainings over the past forty years, I have failed to maintain my equilibrium upon my husband’s death and was placed under house arrest for ten years. The authorities thought my outbursts would cause emotional injury to others. Again, I really must not complain; I was never really alone. My seventy-five Family Bot house staff was ever so kind to humour me, in their own mechanical ways.

 

I am reassured that we have perfected the science of living, yet  that we have lost the art of it. I was granted a rare access to one of the last physical library the other day. Now, in there, amongst the heavy tombs of yesteryears were Bertrand Russell’s heady words: “What will be the good of the conquest of leisure and health, if no one remembers how to use them?”.

I do not wish to burden Your Grace with trivial matters but if I may be given permission to whine, surely you would understand that it is one thing to live wide and quite another to live long. Such is the fortune that has befouled me. I have lived lavishly, I have lived austerely, and still, I am here. I have counted every wrinkle and mapped their geography, only to watch them disappear, tearfully, every birthday as I earned yet another body makeover. My progenies are blissfully unaware that I desired no such gift, yet to tell them so would be too impolite.

 

Your Grace, I beg you to look at my file. I feel this urgency greater than ever before. I have just received the bad news that my heart regeneration surgery has been very successful, and I shall quote the doctor’s disturbing prognosis, “I am delighted to inform you that you can now look forward to another hundred and fifty years. By then, better technology advances should have arrived to automate regeneration.” Can you imagine my distress at such news? If you receive this letter, I plead that Your Grace spare me a thought and terminate my file. I would be your most grateful servant, if you should do so.

 

Waiting ever so patiently, yours faithfully,

Lea Bathristha

 

by Ee-Ling Ng          |         Artwork by  by Janelle Rainer        |      Featured image by Økuntakinte 

 

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Ee-Ling Ng

Ee-Ling Ng is a scientist who allows the voices in her head to take their own form on her blog (www.mestengo.wordpress) and other media outlets that care to listen.